Greece ranks 2nd in the word on 2017 Blue Flag

For the coastal environment, water quality, safety and access for all: the Blue Flag represents a serious and profound commitment to both people and the environment. A total of 486 beaches and 12 marinas were awarded with the “Blue Flag” in Greece for 2017 compared to 430 Greek beaches and nine marinas last year. Greece ranked second in the world on the 2017 Blue Flag quality award list for beaches and marinas, among 47 countries, the Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature announced. The “Blue Flag” is a voluntary eco-label awarded to beaches across the world and is run by the independent, non-profit organization Foundation for Environmental Education based in Copenhagen.

Easter is the biggest celebration of the Orthodox Christians and the one richest in folklore. The word “Pascha”, Easter in Greek, stems from the Jewish “Pasah” which means “Passover”. Jewish people celebrated “Pasah” to commemorate their liberation from the Egyptians and the passage of the Red sea, while Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ the Saviour and the passage from death to life.  The corresponding Greek word for “Pascha” is “Lambri” (Brightness) because the day of the resurrection of Christ is a day full of joy and exhilaration.

Here are a few of our habits :

Holy Thursday 

On that day housewives traditionally prepare tsourekia (sweet buns resembling brioche) and color eggs with special red dyes.  Ever since antiquity the egg symbolizes the renewal of life and the red color symbolizes the blood of Christ.  In the past, people used to place the first red egg on the icon stand of the house in order to cast out evil spirits.  In some villages they used to mark the head and the back of small lambs with the red dye used for the dyeing of the eggs.  They also used to keep one of the big round Holy Thursday loaves at the icon stand in order to protect the members of the family from spells.

Holy Friday

Friday is the most sacred day of the Holy Week, the day of the culmination of the passion of Christ with the deposition from the cross and Christ’s burial.  Because it is a day of mourning, housewives do not do any house chores, avoiding even cooking. Women and children go to church to decorate the Epitaph (Bier of Christ) with flowers they collect or buy. In the morning of Good Friday, Christ’s Burial is reenacted in church and in the evening the Epitaph procession takes place

Holy Saturday 

On Easter Saturday morning, preparations start for the festive dinner of the night of the Resurrection and housewives cook “maghiritsa” (a tripe and herbs soup).  Shortly before midnight, people gather in church holding white candles which they light with the “Holy Light” distributed by the priest.  When the latter chants “Christ is risen” (Christós Anesti), people exchange wishes and the so-called “Kiss of Love”.  With the “Holy Light” of the candles they thrice make the sign of the cross on the door post over the front door of their houses for good luck.  Then they all gather around the festively laid table, they crack red eggs and feast on the traditional “maghiritsa”.

 

Easter Sunday

On Easter Sunday morning, in many parts of the country lamb is prepared on the spit. in other regions, the meat for the Easter table – lamb or kid – is roasted in the oven.  There is a festive atmosphere everywhere and people eat and dance usually until late into the night

 


Winter in Greece

When we say “Greece is a year round destination” we mean it!

Greece offers a variety of activities during winter!  Do not forget that the 12 Gods chose a mountain for their home  🙂
Although Greece is a country where the sun shines most of the year, it can also boast some very good skiing resorts with ultra-modern facilities that can satisfy even the most demanding skiers, offering an unforgettable experience down spectacular ski runs where the beauty of the alpine landscape is guaranteed to take your breath away.

Parnassos and Kalavrita ski resorts are the ones closed by to Athens – you can even go for a day !
Of course if you prefer visiting Northern Greece , then  Kaimáktsalan ski resort is a must !
Do not forget to combine it with a visit to the hot springs of Pozar! Situated just 13 km far from Loutraki and 25 km from Edessa, it’s a natural spring of hot water among huge trees with a stream that descends into the gorge creating a hard sound of water and steam in the air.

Visit Greece in the winter!

See the “other” authentic Greece!

Let us show you !

Travel Smart !

Family vacation is very important, as we all get the chance – not only to relax – but spend quality time with our children and – why not ?- with our parents.

Today we will suggest a 7 day family – easy activity – holiday in Crete .

Take a look and let us know what you think .

Day 1

Arrival in Athens

Transfer to the hotel

Orientation afternoon walking tour in Plaka area

Day 2    Athens Sightseeing & Tholos virtual reality

Morning Athens Sightseeing tour [including Acropolis site and its museum] Lunch break and then we suggest a visit to the Hellenic Cosmos cultural center where you  can watch a virtual reality show with one of the following themes : “Hagia Sophia” “A Walk Through Ancient Olympia” “A Walk Through Ancient Miletus” “Interactive Tour at the Ancient Agora of Athens” “Titans of the Ice Age” “Darwin: the Mystery of Nature” “Dream to fly” http://www.tholos254.gr/en/index.html

The “Tholos” is the Foundation’s new dome-shaped Virtual Reality “Theatre” with a capacity of 130 people. It is a building of exceptional architectural design and with unique technological infrastructure, which hosts FHW’s digital collections. The “Tholos” resembles a planetarium regarding its natural and morphological characteristics. However, their only common characteristic is the semi-circular shape of the projection surface. The exterior shape of the “Tholos” refers to a whirling celestial body. It a sensation that is rendered through the processing of surfaces and the selection of materials, such as the successive rings that surround the external shell and the special lights that make it stand out during the night. Thus, the “Tholos” becomes a symbol of Hellenism and characterizes Pireos street. The shows will be interactive, controlled by the spectator, and not static. It is a unique experience of immersion into the virtual world, which is characterized by immediate response, flexibility, originality and liveliness.

Day 3   Flight to Heraklion – Visit Knossos & Archanes traditional village -Hersonissos

Transfer to the airport for mid-morning flight to Heraklion [there is one at 09:55 arriving an hour later] Upon arrival meet driver and guide for visit to Knossos & Archanes Only few kilometers south of Heraklion, Knossos, the capital of King Minos and the center of the magnificent Minoan civilization is located. Our visit here will take us a step back in time and some 4000 years, 2000 BC. Knossos and her Palace, famous throughout the world through the myths of Europa, the Minotaur, the Labyrinth and Theseus, Daedalus and Ikarus, will open us a window to the most ancient civilization of Europe and its reality you can’t miss. After our visit to Knossos Palace we drive to Archanes.The mayor of ten years, is one of the most active, to the visible benefit of the place, in creating and encouraging the establishment of museum, arts, special and cultural events The village people are proud of their successful efforts to keep the village alive, clean, traditional and beautiful. They are also genuinely friendly. Archanes has won awards – 2nd best restored village in Europe and 1st in long term development prospects. Streets have been newly stone-paved, there are more splendid displays of blooming flowers, fruit trees and plants in the yards, terraces and balconies of the houses Drive to Hersonissos for overnight

Day 4 Heraklion Museum of Natural History & Cretaquarium

Drive to Heraklion to visit to the new museum of the town of Heraklion ‘’Museum of Natural History’’ The Natural History Museum of Crete (NHMC) in Heraklion, Crete is a natural history museum that operates under the auspices of the University of Crete. Its aim is the study, protection and promotion of the diverse flora and fauna of the Eastern Mediterranean region. The museum is based in a restored industrial building that used to house an electricity power plant.In late December 2012, NHMC was awarded by the Academy of Athens with the Benaki award for “its diverse educational, research, writing and publishing work, its exemplary organization and its promotion of scientific research and training” Next stop of our tour is the Cretaquarium in the north east cost of Crete. Cretaquarium or Thalassocosmos (Greek:”sea world”) is a public aquarium located near the town of Gournes in Crete, Greece, 15 km east of the city ofHeraklion. The Cretaquarium project was conceived by employees of the former Institute of Marine Biology of Crete (IMBC) to create the first large aquarium in Greece, as part of a marine park for research, education, culture and recreation. Its construction was co-financed by the European Investment Bank and the Greek state. After our our visit ,we return back to our hotel.

Day 5  Spinalonga “lepers” island cruise & BBQ

Driving along the North East coast through the gorge of St George we reach the small fishing village of Elounda, the location of the BBC television series “Who pays the Ferryman” in the late 70’s. Here we board a boat and cruising along the bay of Elounda we reach the small island of Spinalonga. Spinalonga has had a very chequered history and today, although uninhabited, still echoes with ghostly reminders of the past. It was held by the Venetians who constructed a very impressive fortress with 40 cannons which was guarding the bay from the 15th century. The beginning of 19th century human pain and sorrow was scattered around this islet. It became a leper colony and it remained so until 1957. It has since been cleared by the Health Authorities and today is uninhabited. After our guided tour of the island, we proceed to the small sandy pirate bay of Kolokitha. Here you have plenty of time for swimming at the crystal clear water, and a BBQ will be served on board.

Day 6 At leisure

Day 7 Departure Transfer to Heraklion airport for deparure to Athens